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How can focusing on human behaviour build a stronger cyber risk-aware culture

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A risk-aware culture is critical to the development of a strong cybersecurity environment. We should build a risk culture among management and stakeholders as an added benefit or reward rather than a burden on the firm's personnel.

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A -aware organisational culture safeguards customers, the brand, and the bottom line. Potential concerns can be raised, acknowledged, and resolved in advance when all stakeholders—from the CEO and board to the newest interns—are aware of the risk involved in every action. Unexpected problems are less likely to arise. And when they do occur, the consequences are usually less severe.

Theoretically, it looks great at the discussion table, but in practise, it is very difficult to implement because the organisation isn't made up of similar types of people or mindsets, and each stakeholder is unique and has a different way of thinking and understanding the culture. In real-world settings, traditional face-to-face training and online trainings are ineffective at developing a desired cyber risk-aware culture within an organisation.

5 Golden rules to develop Cyber Risk-Aware Culture

Upskill all employees about cyber risk

If we want employees to participate in risk management and mitigation, we must first provide them with fundamental risk understanding and terminology. It should not be limited to top or mid-level management; it should cover everyone from the top down, including part-time interns and temporary contractors.

Explaining the benefits of risk management and clearly demonstrating how to spot potential issues, assess the potential impact, and determine what can be done to mitigate threats is not enough; they should also be aware of previous incidents that occurred with competitors and similar industries, complete with root cause and aftermath snippets. Cultivating knowledge and understanding of risk via previous experiences will make it much easier for stakeholders to grasp the need of decreasing cyber risk.

Clearly communicate what's expected

Inform stakeholders about a well-defined method for reporting cyber risk & potential dangers. Employees are more likely to report a problem if it is simple to do so. Adding a reported cyber risk to a dashboard with need-to-know access will enable a seamless link between the two.  Guidelines must be clear and direct, going beyond the standard “if you see something, say something.”

Technology is critical in ensuring that reporting is simple, consistent, and timely. Allow employees to access forms with prepopulated fields while they are on the road, making it easier for them to traverse the procedure. Adoption will be low if the risk reporting process is lengthy or confusing.

Organising table top exercises

Learning while having fun is the best approach to master a concept. Organising tabletop exercises among stakeholders would be a better way to introduce culture within the organisation. Table top exercises should not be like a traditional seminar and Slideshows; instead, they should incorporate interactive conversations, cyber quizzes based on real-world organisational problems, and IT security games.

Communicate Accountability and Responsibility

Employees are more aware of cyber danger when they have a sense of accountability and responsibility. As a result, clear and transparent delegation of tasks and responsibilities with the team and functional units is the ideal approach for moving the organisation to the upper levels of cyber security maturity.

Effective Communication

Building a positive risk culture requires effective communication. When promoting risk management practises, it is critical for risk practitioners to have solid interpersonal skills. A positive risk culture will result from effective communication.

The primary emphasis is on the human behavioural side, as it focuses on the determinist or crucial success criteria for a cyber-risk-aware culture. A risk-aware culture is critical to the development of a strong cybersecurity environment. We should build a risk culture among management and stakeholders as an added benefit or reward rather than a burden on the firm's personnel.

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Sushil Verma
Sushil Verma
Sushil Verma is an Information Security expert and a professional member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). His career, spanning over a decade, includes work with organisations such as McKinsey & Company, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, OLX, and OakNorth Bank.
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